MANILA — Ernesto Abella, a former spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte, on Friday filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president in a bid to succeed his former boss.
Abella, who said he recently resigned as undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, is running as an independent or without any backing of a political party.
According to the evangelist, who served as Duterte's mouthpiece from the onset of his presidency until 2017, he decided to run for president after realizing that only a few people are benefitting under the current system.
"Naniniwala po ako, may kailangang bigyang tugon sa bayan. Ang nagpapagalaw ng bayan ay samahan ng gobyerno at malaking negosyo. Hindi po talaga kasama sa usapan ang ordinaryong mamamayan," he said in a speech.
"Kaya ang umuunlad ay iilan at dumadami ang mahihirap," he added.
(It is my belief that something should be addressed. Government and business run the country. Ordinary people are set aside. That's why only a few prosper and many go poor.)
Abella said he ran as an independent because the administration did not consider him to be their standard bearer.
The ruling PDP-Laban has yet to field a presidential candidate, as Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go filed a COC for vice president, while Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who belongs to an opposing faction, is running for president under a regional party.